Creating a "Brandifesto"

Yes. "Brandifesto," it's a real word, well I mean people are really using it to describe something that exists, whether Webster acknowledges it or not is another story, but I digress.

Anyway, my research on marketing and branding has led me to this concept. "Brandifesto" is actually a brand's Manifesto. Manifesto is a public declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives, or motives. According to PRCouture it's a very powerful marketing tool that can raise awareness about a new site. This tool can, when used properly and genuinely, can help connect brands to like-minded consumers and increase brand recognition and promotion. A great example would be the Holstee Manifesto, which has been shared with hundreds of thousands across the world and helped the brand promote their "kickass products." A "Brandifesto", is an inspired, creative way of telling the world who you are and what you do. As a creative, seeking to launch a start-up in a highly competitive industry this tool is a must have for my brand.

So, here's the skinny on the brand as I realize I've been a little "mum's the word" on the whole project. I'm building a lifestyle creative solutions company, specializing in space transformation for home, retail/wholesale space, and events. The brand is a celebration of diversity, the love of vintage goods, items with a story, and beauty in it's many forms with modern, edgy and global styling.

Creating Yourself
via graphichunt.com

I started this company in the hopes to show that the experience of beautifully designed spaces, products and spaces is not something reserved only for the very wealthy. There are thousands of affordable ways to create and recreate environments and goods. This brand is a celebration of the beauty in the world as we (collective beings), as individuals see it, and reflective of our individual gifts.

What do you think? Sound like the type of company you'd want to do business with? Well let me know. One of the values I hope to promote with this project is collaboration. What values, beliefs and motives are important to you when deciding to making a purchase?


inspiration is EVERYWHERE

Manifesto from Holstee.com

Are you really LIVING your LIFE??

Beige is Boring

Today I came across this room and immediately added to my "Colors" board on Pinterest, by the way if you don't have a Pinterest account you may want to look into it. It's the internet's answer to the traditional board. Do you Pinterest?

Color is everything and is everywhere right now. Notice the orange Hermes boxes on the mirrored console? I love when non-traditional items are used in clever ways to add visual interest. Are you pondering any dramatic color moves in your space? Let's talk about it.


I Love It When A Plan Comes Together..

I'm breathing a huge sigh of relief after turning in the last of my final projects for the semester last weekend (Get it!). Ahh, time for a little rest and relaxation you say? Nope. Not for this goal-crazy, design gal. You know what they say about failing to plan...  My list of To Do's for the Winter Break looks like this:

Nik's Winter Break To Do List
-Complete business plan for design business (hope to do a big reveal on the name soon!)
-Write Content for Website Start writing website content
-Paint and refinish a cabinet ($20 flea market find), a dresser, and a salvaged picture frame (stay tuned-should be post worthy)
-Get a little social and attend a few events where people actually mingle and interact (social networking is no substitute for human contact-let me tell you)
-Trademark new logo
-Create social media pages for new biz
-Update this blog

Last weekend I took some pics with my brand spankin' new Canon T3i Dslr (I'm giving you the excited, crazy, electronic sales guy face right now, because the journey to purchasing this thing was epic and I just love it)! These are pics that will be used within my website. Since my company will be focused on styling and decor and the transformation of spaces in homes, retail environments and event spaces, incredible website pictures are key. Nothing sells services relating to pretty things like pretty pictures, right? I was like the Paparazzi up in that piece! Check me out. You like??


Footwear Color Pop

Hope you all had enjoyed your holiday! If you're like me your nursing a Turkey hangover and thinking of creative ways to inject turkey into next week's meals so you can get back to eating turkey-free food ASAP!

As with most holidays, I spent this Thanksgiving with my Mom and my Dad (picture the movie "Four Christmases" only Thanksgiving with slightly less drama, but just as much comedy). One thing I noticed as I was preparing for mad dash up and down the New Jersey Turnpike, was that my shoe game has gotten a little drab. Don't get me wrong, I have a bunch of cute shoes that I adore, but my collection lacks color. I've been asleep at the wheel, guys. I literally have no less than 10 pairs of black shoes.

Well, the first step in addressing a problem is admitting you have one. My name is Nik, and I'm addicted to purchasing black shoes. Next step? When you know better, do better. The easiest and most budget friendly way to add color to  your wardrobe is via accessories, so I did a little internet shopping today and picked up these babies from Lorishoes.com. Yes, I am aware that they contain a lot of black. Baby steps.

Here are a few other fly kicks I came across during my search. The red boots? Yes, they are giving me all sorts of fever! Do tell, have you developed an addition to "drab" when it comes to your wardrobe? How do you add pops of color to your looks? Enjoy!

Footwear Color Pop

Charlotte Olympia high heel shoes
$875 - nordstrom.com

Brian atwood shoes
$995 - nordstrom.com

Nicholas Kirkwood satin shoes
$1,385 - nordstrom.com

Jeffrey Campbell high wedge
$180 - solestruck.com

Jeffrey campbell shoes
$160 - solestruck.com

Alexander mcqueen shoes
£630 - harrods.com

Yves Saint Laurent suede shoes
$775 - nordstrom.com

ASOS flat slip on shoes
$45 - asos.com

$184 - lorisshoes.com

Dolce Vita Sana
$245 - solestruck.com


Ed's Salvage Co.

Last weekend I had a chance to visit (and shop) at Ed's Salvage Co., in Jersey City, NJ. A quaint, shop nestled in a multi-level, brown stone style house, in the McGinley Square section. ESC's offers a curated inventory of unique, vintage and salvage goods. Salvage artifacts and antiques from estate sales, and homes that have been remolded or demolished making this shop a bit atypical as vintage shops go.

I chatted the eponymous owner, (while I eagerly and simultaneously explored/shopped) Ed, about the store, his inventory of Victrolas, and the future of the ESC brand.

Here's the skinny:

1. About Ed: He's warm and uber friendly. Born and bred in Jersey City he's connected to the surrounding community, which probably explains his ability to get his hands on some of the phenomenal items he sells. Ed runs the store using the formula of  "people and community getting connected" as part of his business strategy and judging by his network and the success of the store, I'd say it's working!

2. "Ed's Exchange": As part of that formula ESC will launch Ed's Exchange in the near future,  to promote and sell the work and goods made by local artists and artisans. This is an admirable outreach method as getting noticed can be tough for up and coming creatives.

3. "Turn on the old Victrola!" During my visit there were at least 4 of them on hand. These coveted, antique music makers are totally refurbished, (thanks to Ed's connects) to play vinyl and old school records (Record connoisseurs call them by numbers like 78's or 50's or something. Clearly I'm no connoisseur.). I actually fell in love with the yellow one pictured below. I have a bunch records and nothing to play them on, (yes, the quandary here is obvious- not sure why I've never addressed it before) so between the novelty, the color and the fact that it plays records AND the radio (bonus) I'm seriously considering the $300 price tag. No, seriously.

4. Consider Consignment: ESC is also a consignment shop, which means if you've got apparel or valuable pieces that you are looking to unload and want to make a few dollars off of, you may want to talk to Ed. It also means that his inventory is not strictly vintage, especially where apparel is concerned, which is also good because unfortunately, vintage is not for everyone.

5. ESC Events: So, in addition to the boutique Ed's Salvage Co. hosts parties and events throughout the year (Ed is serious about connecting with community and making his business fun, ok?). Most recently the space was opened for a Halloween Masquerade party. Check out the ESC Facebook and Twitter pages for updates on future events.


DIY African Brass Wax Bead Necklace

About the Necklace: brass wax beads, hardware nuts, and gold end beads strung on gold ball chain, creating a unique, textured piece that mixes industrial edge with cultural chic.

About the Beads: These handmade beads were bought in from Ghana. they are Shaped around a wax mold,  the brass wire is laid around the wax, and the wax is melted out. What remains are these stunning brass beads.

I've got a few more pieces with varied beads in the works. An Etsy shop may be my next move. I'd love to hear from you. Love it or Leave it? Enjoy!


What "Luxe Grunge" Looks Like

"Luxe Grunge." Sounds a bit like an oxymoron, right? That was my reaction too. Anyone who is familiar with the epic fashion movement made popular in the 90's by the likes of musicians, like Kurt Cobain and celebs like Johnny Depp, Kate Moss, knows that the look was, at the time, the epitome of frugality and distress.

Grunge was far more than a fashion trend. It was a rugged lifestyle adopted by the angst ridden, youth sub-culture, often  associated with: beanies, "thrift shop chic", alternative rock music, skateboarding (love a skaterboi), the term "Gen X," and what appeared to be an aversion to soap and shampoo.

It was one of the most significant trickle up fashion movements since the 80's Punk statement. This style revolution was the catalyst for my interest in thrifting (for clothes I'd actually wear in public), upcycling: crafting clothes and jewelry out of sweaters and building materials (ask anyone from my high school class- I was the resident weirdo), layering (my secret weapon for creating a near season-less wardrobe),  and all things Nirvana, Green Day and Smashing Pumpkins. I hope I'm not dating myself here. No matter, "Age ain't nothing but a number."  Thankfully, my encounter with this lifestyle planted the seed for a lifetime of exploration of, and an affinity for "the other," the counter to mainstream, the alternative.

Quick Recap:

The good news is the look, or key elements of it, are again becoming significant in mainstream fashion and design (yay!). Of course, as with any resurgence, it has been re-branded with a fresh moniker for mass consumption (also a great marketing tool to attract the newbies, who will no doubt assume Grunge 2.0 is a new trend). Grunge isn't dead but it has grown up. Check out the photos below for inspiration on ways to bring this hi/low look into your space. Do you think this is a look you could incorporate or is it best left in the world of fashion? Already, doing it? Show a pic of your "Luxe Grunge" inspired look/space!

Elements of Luxe Grunge
  • 90's Grunge inspired
  • volume
  • painted silks
  • layered metallics
  • vintage and boho chic infusions
  • dusty, distressed or matted fabrics
  • floral and graphic prints
  • Colors: grey

This is a theme that can be easily translated from fashion into the home with:
  • metallic paints on walls and accent furniture pieces
  • layered textiles in window and floor coverings
  • vintage artifacts and antique accessories
  • upcycled, antique and industrial furnishings
  • distressed, patterned, and metallic upholstery
  • unexpected texture and color mash-ups in one space


my eyes beheld...Weekend Edition

This weekend I took a much needed break from all things technology. Spending hours looking at a computer, even if laboring away on projects I enjoy, is no good for the creative juices. I took a walk around my 'hood and this is what I saw. Let me just say that some of the most breathtaking, detailed architectural masterpieces are found in cities big or small. You just don't see stuff like this in the 'burbs. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Curb appeal urban style...

inspiration is everywhere...beautiful doors & stunning architectural details